As the news gets more and more bleak, and the day when all will be right again gets further and further away, this is the best time to ensure our mental health is in order and heads are straight. It can become very difficult for those stuck inside, whether alone or with family. The longer we stay in, the crazier we can become. I just wanted to take a quick second to write down some things that help me and keep me going through these long days of social distancing.

I’m actually currently in DC right now, hoping they don’t ground all airports so I can make it home to LA, so fingers crossed until Monday at least! But I’m staying at an Airbnb (shout out to my hosts by the way, amazing people for checking in and offering help during this time) and I’m alone, as usual. It can be hard to not go stir crazy while cooped up inside. Here’s some things that you may find helpful in your own situations that have helped me:

Staying productive/busy – This has been great for me as I find it super easy to fall into the pits of laziness when I’m just at home. With television, streaming apps, food, etc; it can be hard to stay productive or do anything besides those while at home. For staying productive, I recommend setting a schedule for yourself. Wake up at a decent hour, doesn’t have to be at the crack of dawn but before noon at least! Eat breakfast, do some physical activity whether it be a run outside or something in your house, go home and do some work or work on a hobby if you’re out of work right now. If you don’t have a hobby, take one up! Now’s a great time to start writing or journaling, learning a new dance, painting, etc. Basically, just do something. It’ll make the time pass by and I always feel a little better at the end of the day knowing I didn’t waste it doing nothing.

Taking time to decompress – This seems like a contradiction to the above statement but taking a day or two to just unwind and get your mind in order isn’t a bad thing, at all. Don’t feel guilty if you just don’t want to do anything for a couple of days. Everyone everywhere is stressed, on high alert, ready for the worst outcomes possible, etc. If you feel like you need a day to just do nothing and R E L A X, then take that. Take the time you need to focus on yourself. Do some self-care: wash your hair, skincare routine, body scrub, rub your feet, take a nap or two, read a good book. Whatever you consider relaxation, do that and take care of yourself. I personally love binging tv shows and I’m currently starting true Detective. Ultimately, your mental health does come first so be sure to take care of you while you have the time to.

Exercise – This falls into number one but I felt it deserved a category on it’s own. In many places, gyms are closed & for the most part, people are shut in but you still have the option to get physical in other ways. You may have to be more creative, however! You can still take a run or walk around your neighborhood, take a hike, or if you are stuck indoors, do some at home workouts. Some at home workouts don’t even require equipment. I’m not health or fitness guru but you can follow @shah_yee or @mrcommandoathletix on instagram and both have been tailoring their feed/stories to include at home workouts! You can also download free fitness apps such as Yogaworks or try out Nike Training Club. Exercising not only keeps you looking good, but also contributes to our mental health and has you feeling good, too. I started doing yoga; I find it to be a good way to engage the body and wake myself up in the mornings.

Keeping up with Friends/Family – Since we are all social distancing, be sure to stay in touch with your friends and close ones. You may not be able to actually go and see them, but you still have means to talk with one another. You can download apps where you can play games together such as the Imessage games or game pigeon, words with friends (throwback!), or play with them on playstation/xbox. Utilize technology to stay in contact with people and ask them how they’re doing. Let them know you’re okay. This goes a long way in staving off feelings of fear, loneliness and other stressors. Human interaction is so important even if it’s non-physical.

Clean Up – Now is the perfect time to do a deep cleaning that you’ve been putting off. Take a few hours out of your day and devote it to sanitizing and cleaning up. This includes getting rid of clutter and junk you’ve started to hoard over the last few months. Cleaning up our spaces is also a form of cleaning up our minds so take it as a form of self-care. Everything just feels a little better in a clean space.

Create Content – Now more than ever people are going to be online with not much else going on, this is the perfect time to start putting out content. Start that youtube channel, that tik-tok account, start a Twitch, interact with your following. This is really more so for those influencers and content creators who need an extra push because now is the time! You have time, we have time, do something with it. I think some of the content that comes out during this time frame will be some of the most important for creators down the line. Don’t let this window bypass you.

Try New Recipes – The best time to start your culinary journey is now. Don’t take this time to stuff yourself full of junk food! As long as your store has things that are available for you to cook, give it a shot. I love trying out new recipes and new foods. The best place I get new recipes from is Pinterest and I can link my “recipes” board, too! I recommend making meals that you can meal prep and have frozen or for leftovers for a few days to cut down on waste and costs. Cooking can be so fun and a natural stress reliever and if you’re currently with family, now is a good time to share a meal.

Unplug – These are increasingly scary times and our constant need for updates and info, makes it all the more scary. All these little articles and news tidbits are making people more hysterical and panicky; and people can be incredibly volatile when panicked. If you need to, unplug from your device. Turn it off or put it down after a certain time everyday or just log out of twitter/instagram/facebook etc.

Build a Watchlist – Binging your fave tv shows and films are great ways to pass the time. I recommend creating watchlists with shows/films you want to watch and then just powering through them in your downtime. You can even watch with friends as well by either just syncing your start time up while video chatting OR Netflix has a party extension through Google Chrome where a bunch of people can watch something together. You can check out how to do it here. Some of my fave netflix shows are Daybreak, Breaking Bad, Narcos Mexico, The Office, Love is Blind, The Circle, Criminal Minds, Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Next In Fashion, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Stay Here, Sugar Rush, Black Mirror, etc. Check those out if you haven’t; all are very bingeable!

Start a New Book – There is never a bad time to start catching up on your goodreads list. Use this time to relax and start a new book, whether it be audio, physical or digital. I love to read and I’m finding this time to be a great time to just get lost in a new world and forget about what is going on outside. I recommend the Children of Blood and Bone series for my Fantasy lovers. For my mystery/thriller folks, I recommend anything by Karin Slaughter, that is my girl! For my Game of Thrones lovers, if you watched the show, it is time to read a Song of Ice and Fire or any of the spin-offs! If you want something light and fun, I recommend Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal series; it is super cute and has a diverse range of characters with the mains being black. If you want other recommendations, let me know or if you have recommendations, leave them in the comments!

This is my list of things I have been doing. I know it can be hard as we as humans are naturally social creatures and we like to typically be around others. Continue to stay safe, practice good hygiene, do what is best for you ultimately. Try not to dwell on everything that is being cancelled or that you’re missing due to the world shutting down, as it’ll just lead to negative energy in an already negative situation. Try to look on the semi-brightside and think about how if everyone just stays inside, we can flatten the curve and hopefully get back to some sense of normalcy sooner than later. Hopefully, some of these tips will come in handy during this time.